Literacy

The Non-Formal Education Programme (NFE), Bhutan

© UNESCO/Yannick Jooris

The use of new learning technologies has opened up significant opportunities for informal and continuing literacy learning in adult and youth basic education programmes. ICT can facilitate skills development, encourage use of learner-generated materials, stimulate awareness-raising and learner motivation, support and train literacy workers, facilitate the distribution and updating of materials and information to resource centres and gather feedback from individual and collective learners.

It is rare, however, for adult literacy programs to be conducted solely through ICT. They are primarily used in support of conventional programs, or as one component of a multi-pronged approach to literacy and numeracy learning.

Telephones, radio, TV, computers and internet can and should be part of literacy and basic education efforts. Traditional and modern ICT has great potential in rural and remote areas. In the African context, however, the digital divide often poses many challenges and experience has have shown that access to technology does not necessarily guarantee that its use will be meaningful or empowering.

There are many promising examples of how ICT can contribute both to the creation of a literate environment and to the enhancement of literacy learning opportunities. New media have enormous potential for creating learning spaces, such as interactive websites, chat-rooms, listservs, web-based courses and online libraries.

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